Thriller or filler? Share This Too and Meet the People

This month's book reviews look at a self-proclaimed social media handbook and a guide to using a human approach when engaging with the public.

Share This Too is a collection of very intelligent essays by clearly very intelligent PR people. This is all well and good, except that Share This Too promises to be a practical handbook of social media solutions and it is not.

There are thankfully some sections that make Share This Too a worthwhile investment.

Standout chapters by Kevin Ruck, Hanna Basha and Stephen Waddington on internal comms, the law and Wikipedia respectively are pragmatic, easily implementable and require little technical knowledge. This is true of a handful of other chapters too.

However, in the most part Share This Too doesn't quite manage to answer those niggling questions about social media that keep you awake at night.

If you were hoping that it would guide you step-by-step through a Twitter crisis, teach you how to make an engaging YouTube video with just an iPad and an app or offer tips for integrating social media into a traditional campaign, then you are likely to be disappointed.

These are all real, everyday concerns. Case studies are scarce, but those that are included are a welcome addition.

What Share This Too does do is state the argument for taking social media seriously again and again and again. This is in almost every chapter, articulated in numerous different ways.

The fact is though: we all get it. What we want to know is the formula for social media success from the best in the business and this is what Share This Too fails to deliver.

Andrew Marcus, deputy head of comms, Museum of London

Have you read Share This Too? Rate the book or tell us what you think in the comments below.


As I skimmed the opening chapter of Meet The People I struggled to suppress an audible sigh.

Another book all about THE POWER OF THE INTERNET.

But James Frayne offers a handy overview of how modern corporate comms and public affairs teams should engage with public opinion.

In fact, after the first chapter, which waxes lyrical about how the web changed communications, the rest of the book reads more like a textbook for corp comms than an analysis of the digital age.

I don't agree with all of Frayne's arguments. He overplays the transformative effect of social media on comms for one; even in the broadcast era of media, businesses had to engage with public opinion.

And surely only the most backward- looking corporate comms teams will be so slow off the mark that they aren't testing, targeting or using emotional language in their messaging.

What works well about the book is its use of numerous political and corporate case studies, although many of the latter are anonymised. These are wide-ranging and make for interesting reading, even if you find some of the arguments the book makes less engaging.

At under 200 pages, it's a quick skim-read and you can easily dip in and out of different chapters.

As such, it would be a good intro for people starting out in corporate comms, who are looking to get an understanding or basic grounding in political campaigning, or for any particularly Luddite colleagues who think social media are a flash in the pan.

Carys Afoko, head of comms, New Economics Foundation

Have you read Meet the People? Rate the book or tell us what you think in the comments below.


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